‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ Book Review: Racism beyond what we know

‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ Book Review: Racism beyond what we know

To Kill a Mockingbird is a book that a lot of people have read at some point in their lives. Some have been forced to read it at their school whereas others have had a look at it because of being urged to read by others. Everyone has their own experience of reading To Kill a Mockingbird. 

It has been written by the well-acclaimed author- Harper Lee. Harper Lee was an American novelist who won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for To Kill A Mocking Bird, a classic book of modern American literature. She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the year 2007 for her exceptional contribution to literature.

The novel- To Kill A Mockingbird is mainly about growing up under extraordinary conditions in the Southern United States in the 1930s. The main characters undergo significant changes in only three years. To Kill A Mocking Bird is a story about Atticus Finch, who is considered a role model and an unconventional hero mainly due to his morality than his physical capabilities. Morals are the main theme of To Kill A Mocking Bird and this can be seen throughout the novel.

Atticus Finch is a single father in a household in the rural community of Alabama. Through To Kill A Mocking Bird, Lee displays how the old-fashioned Southern culture was different from the practical Southern culture. To Kill A Mocking Bird was released just before the starting of the early Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. It highlights a general story from a local point of view.

Although slavery ended around half a century before the publishing of To Kill a Mockingbird, African Americans were still being deprived of their basic civil rights. Blacks were even degraded by the Southern community by the segregating drinking fountains and public bathrooms. They were even forced to ride at the backseats of the public buses.

 Additionally, they were also discriminated against within the justice system. They were not included in the juries, could be arrested and brought before a judge, and could even be found guilty with just a little reason. 

In the historic past, there have been several cases where a white person charged an African American with an alleged crime. This could be seen in ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’ with the case of Tom Robinson. Just like the past trials, the jury present for the Tom Robinson case was all male and all white. Thus, the trial also took place in a segregated courtroom.

Another struggle faced by African Americans in these times was the advancement in education. Even the schools were segregated among the whites and blacks. Blacks were not at all permitted to attend a white high school. Thus, blacks were generally denied education as there was no dedicated high school built for them at that time.

Due to this reason, a good percentage of African Americans could not study past the 5th grade. To Kill a Mockingbird greatly covers this aspect through Calpurnia who tells the children that only four members of her church can read and she is one of them.

The book serves the purpose that how ridiculous was the culture in the South regarding discrimination against the blacks. Lee would get you thinking, not just about how people were treated in the past, but also about how people should be treated nowadays. To Kill A Mocking Bird also talks about standing for what is right and the tolerance for diversity. It talks about how to show people that you care, especially if they are undergoing adversity. 

‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is also one of our favourite book to movie adaptations with Gregory Peck and Mary Badham as Atticus Finch and Scout respectively. The film was also a debut for actors like Robert Duvall, William Windom, and Alice Ghostley and each of them delivered brilliant performances!

What Does It Mean “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

Ultimately, the purpose of To Kill A Mocking Bird is trusting one’s gut and standing up for what is right. It also highlights why one should teach those values to their children, as Atticus’s behaviour highly impacted Scout and Jem. To Kill A Mocking Bird is about family as well as an extended family that is trying to hold it together when everything seems to fall apart. It also talks about compassion for humanity.

Although it is difficult to say if it should be analyzed and taught in schools, it is a great read for everyone. It should be read with complete absorption as this would help you in changing your life. One thing that can be said with confidence about this book is that every time you go back to it, you would find something that can be assimilated into your code of ethics.

I would advise picking up a copy of To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee as it is a magnificent novel and worth giving a try. It is sure to inspire good people and although at one time it might seem like an arduous task to read the book, it is worth all the time in the long run.